Tech Tip: Unfreeze Windows Explorer [Windows]

Sometimes Windows Explorer freezes and your computer becomes unresponsive. The taskbar may disappear or clicking on an icon may appear to do nothing. This may be caused by an error in Windows Explorer and you may need to restart the explorer.exe process.

To restart the explorer.exe process:

  • Press Alt + Ctrl + Del simultaneously to bring up the Task Manager or right click on the taskbar and click Task Manager.
  • Click on the Processes tab then search the list of processes for explorer.exe. Tip: You can sort the processes alphabetically by clicking on the Image Name heading.
  • Right click on explorer.exe then click End Process (your taskbar may disappear).
  • Click on the Applications tab in Task Manager then click on the New Task button at the bottom right. In the dialog box that pops up type explorer.exe (your taskbar should reappear).

Last Updated on December 24, 2007 by Nathan Vidal

2 responses to “Tech Tip: Unfreeze Windows Explorer [Windows]”

  1. Chris Avatar

    Doing this will partially crash windows, and then recover, again partially.

    I’ve found that the frozen explorer window is caused by network paths (such as work network shares) that continually try to connect through the web when say you are at home and not connected to your work domain.

    The solution is to first disable all internet connections (right click wireless icon and click disable) and/or unplug network cable. This should bring the explorer back. If it does, you can disconnect mapped drives that are pointing to the remote network locations, then turn wireless/wired connections back on, then try opening windows explorer again.

    The logic above might also apply to printers. Basically, try to take away all links to remote domains and see if this brings back explorer. Of coarse, you will have to remap/relink these connections later when you go back to work.


    1. Krishna Avatar

      Thanks! That worked.

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